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The Full Story

How it started

Ajay loves cooking. At a Christmas party in 2021, he found out about a Facebook group that supplies traditional home-cooked food in and around the Portland metro area, to people who missed food from their culture. When he discussed this with Gautami, his wife, she encouraged him to try

it out. 

Ajay started by selling snacks and quickly realized that this didn’t bring him any joy, and felt more like a second job. For Ajay, coming home from work and spending time in the kitchen is his way of unwinding and de-stressing. It occurred to him that selling food for charity would feel more rewarding than just another side hustle.


Ajay then sold Misal and Shrikhand to fundraise for different charities. Thanks to some great initial feedback from the community, he managed to land a last minute catering order for 80 guests at a Maharashtrian wedding in Portland. While preparing this order was pretty daunting, it eventually led to Ajay and Gautami setting up an LLC in a week’s time. New experiences such as registering their business, purchasing licenses, insurance as well as cooking in a commercial kitchen had to be learnt in this short span!


And this is how Food for Thought LLC was born. 


With the success of the wedding order behind them, Ajay applied to the Beaverton Farmers Market as a weekly vendor. He sold out his entire inventory of Shrikhand each time and all the funds raised were donated to various charities. Standing in the farmer’s market, introducing a food item that they ate while growing up in India to so many families in the Portland community, was a matter of immense pride for Ajay and Gautami. Their other notable contributions include selling 150 Diwali Snack Boxes with volunteers with Real: Youth to Youth (a local charity in Portland). 


While 2022 was a year of learning how to run a business, in 2023 and beyond, Ajay and Gautami want to scale up their operations and bring their signature Shrikhand and Chivda products to local grocery stores and farmers markets. With the delicious treats from their home country, they want to continue bringing focus to social causes that are close to their heart. 


And this is just the first chapter of their story…

To join Ajay and Gautami in their attempt to make this world a better place, please check out the volunteer page for more details.

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